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Apr 27, 2008

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David Rogers

Malcolm,

Just a couple of questions to help me understand better what you are saying...

If I am unable to unequivocably embrace your 4th, 5th and 7th major points (although agreeing with you on the others, and some sub-points of these), does that mean that I am not truly a Baptist?

Do you consider there to be a difference between an "ecclesial coalition 'together for the gospel'" and other types of coalitions "together for the gospel"?

Are there legitimate ways to cooperate with Pentecostals other than an "ecclesial way"? If so, what might these be?


Wade Burleson

Believing David Rogers' questions to be very pertinent, I do not wish to distract from the time required to answer them. However, if I might add a couple of simple questions to his. You wrote:

Baptists do not baptize apart from the local church, because baptism involves local church membership.

My questions: Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized? Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized - having come to Jerusalem from all over the known world?

And, if you are unable to identify the local churches, is it possible that our early Baptist fathers were correct that baptism does not admit anyone into the local church? One such early Baptist wrote:

Baptism does not make a person a member of a church, or admit him into a visible church; persons must first be baptized, and then added to the church, as the three thousand converts were; a church has nothing to do with the baptism of any, but to be satisfied they are baptized before they are admitted into communion with it. John Gill

In light of your statements here, that the principles you put forth, including 'baptism involves local church membership,' are 'bedrock fundamentals' of Baptist Identity, will you at least admit that one of the principles you call bedrock is a departure from historic Baptist belief, and that if this is the case, then the new Baptist Identity movement, which is making tertiary issues 'bedrock fundamentals'
is a movement that will ultimately separate, isolate, and disintegrate all cooperation - even among Baptists?

Just wondering.

Malcolm Yarnell

Brother David,

Allow me to answer your questions in short:

1. If Baptists want to be biblical in their obedience to Christ, how would compromising the Word of God in these matters benefit them?

2. Perhaps like you, I believe there are levels of cooperation, but non-ecclesial cooperation at best remains temporary. It is especially difficult to attempt to confess anything with regard to the church while engaging in such cooperation. When Christians, who confessedly attempt to fulfill Christ's commands completely, attempt to confess a proper ecclesiology in collusion with other Christians, who confessedly undermine those commands, we may find ourselves compromising our witness to Him with regard to baptism or another aspect of "all things whatsoever" He has commanded. These "things" are important enough that the Risen Savior included them in His Great Commission, so perhaps we should be careful about overlooking them in a confession. Of course, the love that we have for the gospel of Christ drives us closer to other folk who also have a love for the gospel. Perhaps such cooperation may provide the opportunity for a gentle reminder about the change that the gospel brings in people.

3. Proper evangelism ends up being a church exercise, because a convert's first confession of faith is properly baptism, which is a church ordinance. Moreover, a proper confession of faith affirms all that the Word teaches and the Word does teach eternal security and it does not teach a subsequent baptism of the Holy Spirit evidenced by speaking in tongues. Thus, the only form of cooperation that seems possible when working with Pentecostal Christians is co-belligerancy with regard to public policy (standing against abortion, for the family, etc.). Evangelism, because its proper end is the planting of New Testament churches confessing New Testament doctrine, should be ruled out of the picture, definitively, whether here in the United States or abroad. Unless, that is, we are not very concerned to teach what the Word teaches. Of course, as all of the pastors of Bellevue Baptist Church have taught us for so many years, we Southern Baptists are supremely concerned about upholding and teaching God's inerrant Word.

Reverend Burleson,

Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology.

I pray you have had a worshipful Sunday in your respective Southern Baptist churches, kind sirs. We have a fine convention of churches, because we have a perfect Lord, don't we?

In Christ,
Malcolm

Steve

Mr. Burleson, What conditions would require a person baptised by immersion to be EXCLUDED from church membership?
Surely whatever case required exclusion from church memebrship would also require one to refrain from baptising the person.

peter

All,

Because of the time restraints that too many questions would press upon Dr. Yarnell, please understand if I do not allow rapid fire questions. Nor will I allow a single commenter to dominate.

Dr. Yarnell has been gracious to write this essay. And, I realize since he is an accomplished theologian, many will desire to dialog with him (And who would not choose to dialog directly with a scholar about an issus rather than another)

That said, I trust you will understand if I place all comments in moderation as we proceed.

As a courtesy to Professor Yarnell: he need not feel obligated to respond to any single question.

Grace to all. With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Malcolm,

1. I am sorry, but it does not seem to me that your question #1 answers the first question I asked you. Are you willing to answer my question?

BTW, I do not feel that my views compromise the Word of God.

2. Maybe the following questions will help me express more specifically the point I am getting out here:

Do you consider such endeavors as the "Together for the Gospel" conference, "The Gospel Coalition," and or "The Lausanne Movement" to be "ecclesial coalitions"? Where do we cross the line from "non-ecclesial" to "ecclesial" coalitions?

3. From what I understand you to say here, we may cooperate with Pentecostals only on the same basis we may cooperate with Catholics, Jews, and Mormons. That is incredible to me!!! I doubt seriously that there are many Southern Baptists who would agree that we should not cooperate at all with Pentecostals in evangelistic endeavors. I can assure you that my beloved father, Adrian Rogers, did not support such an extreme view.

4. If you choose not to answer Wade Burleson's questions, I also ask you the very same questions. You can give your answer to me, and Wade can just look in. :-)

Jeffro

Dr. Yarnell,

Based upon your fourth & fifth points my sister and brother in law who are IMB missionaries in Eastern Europe aren't traditional Baptists. They have been in country for 2 years, and baptized only 5 people. Two of the five were led to Christ out of country while working and had never been baptized. They are now out of country working again and not a member of any church. A third was their first "convert" if you will, who is now heavily involved in the local JW cult. The other two converts have been baptized and regularly attend weekly Bible study, but there is no covenant, no doctrinal statement, no organized local church for them to be baptized into. So, are my sister and brother in law traditional baptists or not?

Secondly, could you please explain your Biblical evidence for not baptizing those who have assurance of their "eternal" salvation (emphasis on eternal)? Are you saying that "traditional Baptists" don't baptize anyone who doesn't believe that they have "eternal security?" Did the Ethiopian eunich have this assurance? Or the 3,000 on the day of Pentecost? Were Peter & Phillip not "traditional Baptists?"

Finally, could you please explain to me how "together for the gospel" is an ecclesial coalition? Also please, if you will, explain how your relationship and involvement (such as preaching an "orthodox" sermon in an Episcopalean church) with those who are not Baptist is not an ecclesial coalition.

r. grannemann

The problem I see in Malcolm's comments is that it implies a distinction between the church and the Kingdom of God. Jesus preached the Kingdom of God, not the church AND the Kingdom of God. The church in the NT is generally spoken of as a local assembly of God's kingdom people. Paul's use of "church" in the universal sense in Ephesians is identical with Jesus' terminology of Kingdom. And Jesus said one enters the Kingdom by the New Birth through faith, not by baptism. Baptism is a symbol of entrance, not a means of entrance. This is bedrock Baptist doctrine.

I believe in Baptist ecclesiology, and that will likely (and regrettably) limit our cooperation. But I don't believe Baptist ecclesiology is the requisite for a true church. The new birth is sufficient for that, and to say otherwise borderlines on a false gospel.

Malcolm's doctrine of "true baptism", with all its requirements, is just a shade away from campbellism.

peter

All,

I'll be out for a few hours. Hope to return by mid afternoon. I'll post some comments then.

Please do not lose patience. I think this post will be up until at least Thursday. Honestly, it needs to.

In addition, I think Dr. Yarnell's essay may set the record on readership of any one post, whether or not the amount of comments posted reflects such.

Grace to all. With that, I am...

Peter

Malcolm Yarnell

David,

If you need a definitive answer on what makes a "true Baptist," your church membership will determine that. I would encourage you to look beyond that, however, to the basis of Baptist church membership, which is the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Thus, my reference to His Lordship.

Your second set of questions was not the intent of my short essay. The answer to your questions, however, may lie in how you respond to this question: Do you see these movements as the church? If so, then, yes, they may be ecclesial movements. If not, then they may not be. I certainly do not give any of these movements ecclesial importance and would be deeply troubled by any claim that they possess such.

Thirdly, your incredulity at the desire to keep a distance between Pentecostal theology and Baptists seems itself, at least on the surface, difficult to believe. As for your father's beliefs, I am unaware of anything he ever taught with regard to bringing Pentecostals and Baptists into ecclesial fellowship. Perhaps you could point out a sermon series or something in this regard?

Finally, since you are willing to interact on behalf of the other questions raised, and since my answer is found in germ form in my initial response, perhaps you could answer Steve's question for him.

Jeffro,

Unless things have changed, IMB missionaries are sent by their local churches. Your relatives who are missionaries in a difficult place would therefore be an extension of their own local church's ministry and therefore also be responsible spiritually to that local church. Most likely, your relations see it as their task to help a new church in their field of service come into being through covenant.

The faith into which we baptize is the faith defined by Scripture. This faith includes eternal security, because it is defined by Scripture. Why would we not include eternal security in our definition of the faith into which we baptize? In case you assume this is a belief that began with the Landmark movement, please take a look at the Charleston statement on church discipline. It shows that such a belief goes to the very historical roots of our denomination.

Whether T4G is an ecclesial coalition is a question best directed to that organization's sponsors. You may want to start looking for an answer to your question with their confession, and then direct your query toward them. As for preaching in Episcopal churches, I have, like Paul at the Areopagus, used whatever forum available to present the gospel. However, like Paul who called the Corinthian church to discipline its membership and practice the ordinances properly, I emphasize proper ecclesiology.

Grannemann,

Most theologians recognize that the Kingdom and the Church are distinct though related entities in Scripture. I myself do not equate the two of them; otherwise, one may find oneself at home in the Graves wing of the Landmark movement.

Faith and the new birth are the beginning of salvation, but one must not stay in a stillborn state. Rather, salvation calls for growth, and the first step towards growth is confessing one's faith in baptism. This is hardly Campbellism; rather, Baptist theology stands over against both Campbellism and Presbyterianism, both of which have elements that teach the doctrine of baptismal regeneration, a doctrine that Baptists correctly refute.

May each of you have a blessed day. I do enjoy interacting on the web with Peter's friends, but I must move on to other responsibilities. There are others, however, who will likely answer your queries. I will return as possible within the next day or so.

In Christ,
Malcolm

peter

Bro. r. grannemann

Thanks for your question. Just an interjection if I may. Note Dr. Yarnell made it perfectly clear, I think, that he mentioned of other Churches as Churches, did he not?

Nor can, it seems to me, the question be taken seriously about what Dr. Yarnell refers to as "ecclesial" relations. For me it seems self-evident.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

Mr. Burleson,

To cite as an authority, Dr. Voluminous, is not out of the question obviously. And, we are aware of your special admiration for him.

In addition, as many fine qualities as he may have possessed as a theologian, that does not make him at all speak authoritatively for a developed ecclesiology.

I cite one example which, I assure, could be compounded by many more:

"That it is the duty of every man and woman, that have repented from dead works, and have faith towards God, to be baptized...and being thus planted in the visible church or Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.3)[sic]..."(Lumpkins, Confessions, p.209.)

This is from Article XXIV, of The Somerset Confession, a Particular Baptist confession from 1656. Gill spoke for neither Baptists at large nor even the Particular Baptists from which came the 1644 Confession you have elsewhere advocated.

With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Malcolm,

From your last comment to me, I take it that you do regard me to be a "true Baptist," since I am currently a member of a self-confessing "Baptist church," and I am doing my best to submit to the Lordship of Jesus, as I understand it. This still seems to me to conflict, though, with what you said in your original post, with respect to your seven points. I guess that leaves us at a sort of "Mexican standoff" on this particular issue.

Regarding "ecclesial coalitions" or "movements," I guess I am going to have to "deeply trouble" you. Since I understand what theologians have called "the church militant" as distinguished from the eschatalogical "church universal" as authentically "ecclesial," it seems to me that, yes, in a sense, these various endeavors may also be called "ecclesial." That does not mean, to me, that they necessarily carry out all of the same functions as a local congregation. But, yes, they are "ecclesial." Once again, it seems this leaves us at a sort of a "Mexican standoff."

Next, I do not necessarily equate refraining from joint evangelistic efforts with Pentecostals with a "desire to keep a distance between Pentecostal theology and Baptists." Apparently you do.

Neither did I say anything about "bringing Pentecostals and Baptists into ecclesial fellowship." Of course, in line with what I have already stated in regard to the "church militant," I believe we are already in "ecclesial fellowship," and cannot actually be brought out of it. I also believe that, beyond this, the Scripture teaches us that it is the will of our Lord that we "make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace" (Eph. 4:3). The context of this verse the "one body," that is, at least as I understand it, essentially equivalent to this very same "church militant" (though also embracing the entire "church universal" down through history and eternity). I think we might properly call this "ecclesial fellowship" as well.

However, I am not suggesting that Baptist congregations ought to teach Pentecostal doctrine, at least not those particular points of doctrine in which we happen disagree with each other.

Regarding my father, I know that I personally translated an evangelistic sermon for him that he preached in a Pentecostal church in Badajoz, Spain, in which one young man surrendered his life to Christ, and continued on afterwards under the discipling ministry of that Pentecostal congregation. I can assure you my father rejoiced at this opportunity, and had nothing negative in regard to it. I also know that his television program has aired for years now, with his approval, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I don't know if you would regard this as "cooperating in evangelism" or not, though.

Regarding Steve's question, I would respond that the biblical requirement for baptism is the same as that given by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch: "If you believe with all your heart, you may" (Acts 8:37).

Now that I have answered Steve's question (if I have understood it correctly), I still would sincerely like to know your answer to Wade's questions.

peter

David (Rogers),

Thank you my brother. We see perfectly well the differences you've made quite evident between your view and Dr. Yarnell's. Your impasse is now clearly noted.

As for answering Mr. Burleson's question, please consider that a done deal in Dr. Yarnell's first response with the "germ" of it and my response pertaining to Mr. Gill.

I hope your evening well. With that, I am...

Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

Just a question, because I believe you are implying something using your father as an example.

You write; I can assure you my father rejoiced at this opportunity, and had nothing negative in regard to it. I also know that his television program has aired for years now, with his approval, on the Trinity Broadcasting Network. I don't know if you would regard this as "cooperating in evangelism" or not, though. In this statement you are implying that your father was an active participate in crossing theological boundary lines when promoting the Gospel. That, I believe everyone would agree. I would be the first to tell you that what I understood of your father's ministry was that everyone should preach the Gospel wherever the Lord opened a door for one to preach. However, you seem to imply that it goes further than that as you have pointed to your father's ministry being on the TBN Network. Let me ask you a question that I believe will clear this up, at least for me. Did your father ever have Paul and Jan Crouch come to Bellvue and allow them to speak to the people there?

Blessings,
Tim

David Rogers

Tim,

No, my father never had Paul and Jan Crouch as guests at Bellevue.

As I understand it (and I believe my father understood it the same way), cooperating with others in evangelism or other ministry who do not agree with you on certain points of doctrine does not necessarily mean inviting them to come to your church and teach their different views of doctrine.

I believe the Pentecostal church in Badajoz, Spain understood this principle when they invited my father to come and preach. Cooperation with others who differ on secondary points of doctrine does not necessarily mean compromising our own views on those same points of doctrine.

This seems fairly simple to me. Frankly, I am surprised this is even up for question. Such closed-mindedness is definitely not the way I grew up believing all my life, under my father's ministry. I was taught rock-solid convictions regarding the authority of the Word of God, and my own personal doctrinal beliefs, though.

David Rogers

Peter,

I will reluctantly consider it a "done deal" that neither you nor Malcolm want to really answer Wade's question (and mine).

Steve

I am sorry David, but clearly you have not understood my question. Would you like another attempt?
Steve

Steve

or colloquially, "avanuvergoyermug!"
Steve

David Rogers

Okay Steve,

I would agree that "whatever case required exclusion from church memebrship would also require one to refrain from baptising the person." In other words, whenever a person gives clear evidence in their life that they, in fact, do not believe with all their heart, they should be excluded from church membership. This, however, should only be undertaken after due opportunity for repentance is given, following the steps lined out in Matthew 18.

We should also be careful to remember, as Paul says in 1 Timothy 5:24 that "the sins of some men are obvious, reaching the place of judgment ahead of them; the sins of others trail behind them."

Does it look like I've understood your question better now?

Frankly, I'm not sure I really get the point, though.

Steve

Well, wouldn't that also exclude a person from being baptised?
Steve

peter

David,

May I say to you as clearly as I know how with the language skills I presently possess:

as far as I am concerned, Mr. Burleson's question is answered.

Thus, you may be as reluctant to accept as you like; and you may view the answers given precisely as you wish.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

peter

David,

In my first post, I testified clearly to both my love and appreciation for other Christians in churches of faith and order not of Baptist descent. Specifically, I mentioned my love for the Nazarene Church both then and now.

In other threads, I've mentioned to you my involvement in crusade evangelism, particularly with the Billy Graham Crusade model. I have cooperated even in evangelism.

I have said more than once that there are many liaisons with Christian groups I could feel comfortable with and have and still do.

The concern we've consistently stated which appears to really spark your piston is a boundary over which we will not step. You insist the boundary is one place and some of us another.

What I find a bit entertaining, as far as I am concerned, not to mention given my expressed love and service with those of other order and faith, is the impression I get reading your comments that those of us who are arguing for a "BI" are either tightening the screws or are "closed-minded" or even "extreme" in our views.

Thanks for a hearty laugh, David. You made my evening. With that, I am...

Peter

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

I believe you will understand that I too, believe a healthy doctrine allows us to cooperate with other denomination in various ministry practices, ie. homeless shelter ministry, clothes closets, crisis pregnancy ministries, etc. But, as your dad would not allow other doctrinal positions espoused in the pulpit that God placed him, neither would he be part of planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine. If you try to say he would then, why was he not a part of the CBF?

Blessings,
Tim

Tim Rogers

Brother David,

Allow me to re-phrase that sentence. I said neither would he be part of planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine. What I meant to say was, neither would he be part of leading the SBC in planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine. I hope that makes better sense.

Blessings,
Tim

David Rogers

Steve,

Yes, indeed, as I stated earlier:

the biblical requirement for baptism is the same as that given by Philip to the Ethiopian eunuch: "If you believe with all your heart, you may" (Acts 8:37).

David Rogers

Peter,

You need to understand that my comments related to cooperative evangelism in this post are framed in response, not necessarily to you nor to anyone else, but rather to the following statement by Malcolm, which I consider to be quite extreme, in his comment to me:

"Thus, the only form of cooperation that seems possible when working with Pentecostal Christians is co-belligerancy with regard to public policy (standing against abortion, for the family, etc.). Evangelism, because its proper end is the planting of New Testament churches confessing New Testament doctrine, should be ruled out of the picture, definitively, whether here in the United States or abroad."

David Rogers

Tim,

All that I can answer you is the following:

When my wife and I were appointed by Bellevue Baptist Church in 1990 as church planting missionaries of the interdenomational mission organization, Bible Christian Union, my father participated in and assented to our appointment.

Also, I myself would not "be part of leading the SBC in planting churches for other missional organizations that did not hold to clear Baptist doctrine." I believe we should be planting churches, not for other missional organizations, nor for the SBC, but rather for the advance of the Kingdom of God.

volfan007

david,

we believe that starting sbc type churches is planting is planting churches for the advancement of the kingdom of God. and, help me understand something...are you saying that there are churches out there that can be started by pentecostals and sb's? and, if you are, how in the world could this possibly work? because, i will guarantee you that the pentecostal crowd will want tongue speaking, and they will not want to believe in eternal security.

now, if you are joined with a pentecostal group in doing evangelism, would you be comfortable with them telling someone that they needed to be saved again? would you be comfortable with having a community wide crusade with pentecostal type churches involved....and, after you preached a clear, concise, gospel message...and people responded.... then, the pentecostal counselors would counsel the ones coming forward that they had to be saved again...that they had lost it and needed to be saved again, or that they had to speak in tongues as an evidence of salvation? would you be comfortable seeing people responding to your sound message, and then getting unsound counsel like that?

i was asked to be a part of a community crusade like what i'm describing. i refused to be a part of it, because i was not comfortable with the thought of how people would be counseled...people that i had invited to come...people who would hear me preach....people who trusted me.

david

Chris

Hang in there David. You are on the right track (Biblically, I might add). And as long as I have breath, I will fight the OPINION Malcolm shares of becoming the "norm" of the SBC. And I have a hunch that there are quite a few more who will join that battle...I have never been a part of a Baptist church that held to his view of baptism. I have seen individuals baptized because of their conversion and yet they were not made members because they were going to be moving and/or joining another church. Every church I have been at would have had no problem with that. I don't believe Scripture does either. This is not the understanding of most baptist out there. And the more we'll educate about this type of thinking (Malcolms), the better chance we have of keeping it from spreading.

Steve

So you would agree that the requirement for baptism and church membership is the same...
and therefore you disagree with Gill, who posits that church membership follows after Baptism, and is not part and parcell of the same.. 1 Cor 12:13.
Thanks David.
That's what the issue is with Gill.

David Rogers

David Worley,

The main point in all of this, as far as I am concerned, is that Malcolm said, in no uncertain terms, that he does not believe we can EVANGELIZE together with Pentecostals.

I will concede that trying to plant churches with true Pentecostals (2nd blessing theology with tongues as the evidence, and no eternal security) would be a challenge, though not perhaps impossible. There would need to be some agreement ahead of time regarding backing off of certain doctrines. And, I am NOT suggesting that we as Baptists back off of our doctrine. Neither am I saying we ought to actively pursue planting churches with Pentecostals. Just, that it is not entirely impossible.

There are definitely some evangelistic projects, and even church planting training and promotion projects, though, that can, and have been done quite fruitfully, with the joint participation of Baptists and Pentecostals.

In order to make these work, though, there would need to be a previous agreement on the part of all to not get into the points that divide us, leaving those for afterwards during the on-going discipleship and doctrinal teaching efforts of each group separately.

I would agree with you that, in such events, there is always potential for abuse, just like you have experienced. But, it doesn't necessarily have to be that way. All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation and need to get saved again, or that they must speak in tongues in order to be saved. As a matter of fact, the last I checked, the majority do not teach that last point.

David Rogers

Chris,

Thanks for the encouragement.

David Rogers

Steve,

No, I do not disagree with Gill on this point.

I do see your line of reasoning as a non sequitur, though.

David Rogers

Everybody,

I am going to bed. I will check this again in the morning sometime.

Blessings

Bryan Riley

I'm trying to determine how language from above, quoted below, is supposed to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ and His Kingdom. Please explain how it does?

Reverend Burleson,

Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology.

Malcolm Yarnell

David,

I would agree with TIm Rogers that we certainly can cooperate with Pentecostals in certain social ministries, too. However, also in agreement with him, when it comes to evangelism and church planting, prudence would demand a limitation to such cooperation.

In Christ,
Malcolm

peter lumpkins

David (Rogers),

I trust your evening rest well. First, to make your expressed concerns here on the basis of what Dr. Yarnell wrote in the comment thread is incredible, David. You began in the very first comment you offered with "just a couple of questions to help me understand better what you are saying". You have ceased to ask since.

In addition, when Dr, Yarnell has answered, you at least three times accused him of not answering--and threw me in the mix for good measure.

Thus, to suggest that this is all about what Dr. Yarnell mentioned in the comment thread cannot, at least from my observation, be taken seriously.

Secondly, the fact that you were appointed overseas by an interdenominational mission board explains a bit more to me why you grandstand for your position as adamantly as you do. Frankly, I never knew such so this is a nice little jelly bean to enjoy.

Not, of course, that there's anything intrinsically wrong with serving for an interdenominational board. But it does explain, at least for me, your obvious flirtation with partnering with Pentecostals in planting Churches.

You mentioned to David that

"I will concede that trying to plant churches with true Pentecostals...would be a challenge, though not perhaps impossible. There would need to be some agreement ahead of time regarding backing off of certain doctrines. And, I am NOT suggesting that we as Baptists back off of our doctrine...All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation and need to get saved again, or that they must speak in tongues in order to be saved...the majority do not teach that last point.

A few reminders, David. First, it would not just be a challenge to partner with Pentecostals in planting Churches, it would be fatal to our Baptist heritage. And, please do not offer the shibboleth that it's about "Kingdom" work not "Baptist" work as if the two are mutually exclusive. They decidedly are not exclusive and/or contradictory and unless you're prepared to demonstrate the two are, it best to move on from that one.

The passion from this side is fueled by the very position you've just hinted at, David: partnering with other denominations to plant Churches. From my perspective, our missionaries should be about preaching the Gospel and discipling the saved, not about exploring interdenominational relationships or expending energy on just what doctrines you're willing to forfeit and what doctrines they are willing to forfeit to build a doctrinally hybrid "Church".

If this is what you have been lobbying for here, at Mr. Burleson's, at SBCOutpost and on your blog, know this my brother: you have not even seen objection to your idea yet.

And, what half way cocks my left eye to the right is, this is precisely my concern I've expressed all along with Enid's continued trumpeteering of "ecumenical evangelicalism" or, my term "evangelical anonymity", where we concede this and they concede that and we concede this and they concede that until we've "compromised" enough to form a "Church". No thanks, David. Count me out. And, I do not hesitate to say, count the overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists out.

I challenge any one of you who believes this paradigm is the way Southern Baptists needs to do missions or believe Dr. Yarnell's view to be so extreme, bring such up at the SBC in June. Explain it in detail precisely which doctrines of the BF&M you like to see us concede to form a partnership "church". Let the vote's result determine whose idea is extreme. I'm willing to live with the result.

Secondly, your assumption seems to be that the Pentecostal Church is doctrinally soft and their idea of doing Church is liquid to the core. I do not know how it is where you are but I do know a bit about Pentecostals here.

Pentecostals are a confessional people as are we. They possess strong doctrinal statements. They believe strongly in what they are doing is the NT way in no less uncertain conviction than we.

You mentioned that "All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation". I live in Georgia, David, but I did not ride here on a Peanut truck.

Falling from grace is a Pentecostal doctrine. It's part of their confession. There may be some who don't believe that similarly to some Southern Baptists who believe one can lose their salvation.

But, for the most part, they're quiet about that. And if they were Pentecostal leaders who vocally attempted to suggest they forfeit "falling from grace", even in the name of planting churches, my guess is they'd be defrocked quickly.

You further state that "they [don't always insist on telling others they] must speak in tongues in order to be saved." I agree.

However, not only do most not insist on telling such, no Pentecostal doctrinal statement of which I am aware says such. If so, I'd like to know which one.

What all Pentecostals have in common is the Doctrine of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking in other tongues. Pentecostals do not believe such is optional but necessary.

Not to be saved, mind you; rather to be empowered by Spirit baptism, the non-negotiable evidence of which is the speaking in other tongues. In that, Pentecostals are just about as soft as a cussin' sailor's speech.

For you, then, to speak as if Pentecostals will easily concede such is, in my view, a larger disrespect toward Pentecostals and the distinction that sets them apart from evangelicalism at large, than any possible disrespect Baptists would commit by refusing an ecclesial alliance with them, David.

In the end, for my part, I will cooperate lots of ways with my brothers and sisters of other faiths and who name the name of Christ. But I will not cooperate where I must forfeit my convictions.

Nor will I ask of other faith groups that they forfeit theirs. That is just about as Baptist as one can get and sets Baptists apart from the Magisterial Reformers. They argued for their religious freedom and when they got it, they fought against others' rights to have theirs.

Baptists fought both for ours and theirs and won it. Once we won it, we continue to fight both for ours and theirs.

Thus, I am for no alliance, ever how small, that tempts another to forfeit his or her convictions. In my view, it's just dead wrong and dead against being Baptist.

With that, I am...

Peter

Lee

If it were possible to determine that one's own interpretation of scripture were inerrant and infallible, this would make some sense. Since that is not possible, and the current "Baptist distinctives" are not even completely accepted by most Baptists, it just looks like more of the same old arguments that Baptists are "more Biblically correct" than other Christians. It's the idea that only seminary professors can really understand the true meaning of scripture. It's the idea that has contributed to the decline of the church in North America.

Todd Benkert

Dr. Yarnell,

I offer the following in a collegial spirit and a desire to foster unity in the body of Christ. I believe that on point seven you are incorrectly equating assurance of salvation with the doctrine of eternal security. The two concepts are related, but not the same. It is possible to have one without the other.

I do not find that the Scriptures join the two. Wherever the Bible speaks of assurance, it speaks of one’s present experience with Christ. That is, a person has assurance because of the evidence of Christ working in him. Further, the Bible encourages believers to test themselves to see if they are in the faith, and to make their calling and election sure.

In 1 John, assurance comes with our present walk with Christ as we obey his commands (1 John 2:3), love the brethren (3:14), believe in his name (3:23) and the experience the presence of His Spirit (3:24). No where in this letter, written “so that you may know that you have eternal life,” (5:13) does John link assurance with our initial conversion experience.

When a Baptist is not walking with Christ, he may indeed be saved, but he will not have assurance that he is. A person can thus believe in eternal security, but lack assurance. Anecdotally speaking, I am sure of my salvation, not because of my conversion experience 31 years ago coupled with my belief in eternal security. I am sure of my salvation because of the evidence of the Spirit as he works in and through me and my faith in the cross of Christ.

Further, true Arminianism does not foster doubt of one’s salvation. Arminians believe that salvation is both “received and kept by faith.” If one believes, his eternal destiny is sure. It is only if one abandons the faith “by rejecting Christ” that one “loses” salvation. In reality, assurance is faith, so it is not improper for an Arminian to say that assurance is based on faith. Further, in our experience as believers, both Arminian and Baptistic views of the security of the believer are tied to faith. The difference is that when an Arminian abandons the faith they say that such a person is no longer saved and when a Baptist abandons the faith we say they were never saved in the first place. Either way they’re lost.

The possible danger of Arminianism, when not properly understood, is that one would have false doubt. The possible danger of our Baptist view of eternal security, when not properly understood, is that one would have false faith (I prayed a prayer, so I’m saved forever). All this is to say that assurance and security are related but not inseparable. A Baptist can believe in eternal security and still not be sure of his salvation. Likewise, an Arminian can be assured of his eternal salvation without believing in eternal security.

I agree that Arminian doctrine is in error. I do not believe, however, that Arminian belief is a false faith or deficient gospel. I submit that a baptism should not be disqualified because of a lack of belief in the doctrine of eternal security alone.

Blessings,
Todd

Note: the quotes can be found in the Assembly of God’s position paper on eternal security. http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_4178_security.cfm

r. grannemann

Malcolm,

The declarations that "the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," and that Jesus" will build his church" come nearly simultaneously in history. The Kingdom and the Church were begun by the same person (Jesus), at the same time (during Christ's earthly ministry), and of the same people (God's forgiven saints). Why postulate two different entities with different means of entry - one via baptism (campbellism) and another via the New Birth (Protestant evangelicalism) - for such congruent things?

One of Isaac Newtons rules of reasoning in natural philosophy was "for the same natural effects to, as far as possible, assign the same cause." Some analogue of this, it seems to me, is appropriate for biblical interpretation.

Thanks for your previous response.

Chris Bonts

Peter,
Just for the record, and in response to the anti-Baptist Identity folks. Baptism was viewed as a prerequisite to church membership and the Lord's Supper in ALL THREE versions of the Baptist Faith and Message. This position is not a new one. Apparently there has always been a great deal of agreement about what Southern Baptists believed on this issue.

Chris Bonts

volfan007

david rogers,

what peter said. :)

i, too, do not see any way to start churches with pentecostals. i know a lot of them. they all believe very strongly that one can lose his salvation, and they get fired up when you suggest different.

i also know that they are all big on tongue speaking. now, i concede that not all of them would say that you have to speak in tongues to be saved...but there are definitely some that do believe and teach this...that tongue speaking is an evidence of salvation. others, and possibly most pentecostal type groups, would say...as peter pointed out... that tongue speaking is definitely a sign of being filled with the Holy Ghost.

i could not ever start a church with a group like this, nor with one that believed in baptising babies, nor with a group that believed that salvation comes thru baptism. i could not and would not ever want to be a part of something like that, and i would be very against cp and lottie and annie dollars going to some kind of ecumenical fuzzy church plants.

also, i personally just could not join with pentecostal type groups in evangelistic efforts while knowing that if a person who was saved, but having doubts, talked to the pentecostal counselor about it.....that that pentecostaly counselor would tell him that he had become lost again, and needed to be saved again. would you be ok with that?


david

David Rogers

Malcolm,

If you were to have worded your last comment like this...

"when it comes to evangelism and church planting, prudence would LEAD US TO CAUTION AND CERTAIN LIMITATIONS to such cooperation"

... I would have no problem agreeing with you.

Matt

This has been interesting reading, but I am trying to wrap my mind around it. It just leaves me with one question:

Since the Bible says that "all peoples" will hear the Gospel, and only then the end will come, and since that has become the basis for our (very correct, and very important) focus on unreached people groups,

Does that mean "all peoples" must be exposed to a "true Baptist" Gospel before the end will come?

If the answer is "no," then shouldnt we encourage and cooperate with any denomination that teaches the true Gospel as long as the small things dont get in the way of exposing all peoples to the Gospel and quickly ushering in the return of Christ?

It will take many more millenia for Christ to return if the SBC are the only ones who are doing the work.


If our goal is the return of Christ, let's see that happen sooner, rather than slow it down with our fallible, human interpretations of tertiary issues.

Todd Benkert

Volfan007,

I agree that we should be cautious in whether and how we cooperate with Pentecostals. In your example, However, I offer another scenario:

Would you work with a Baptist counselor who would point this same person to the date he wrote in his Bible or his memory of praying the sinner's prayer (rather than leading him to examine his faith in order to lead him to either assurance or conviction -- 2 Cor 13:5)?

The attitude of your hypothetical Arminian counselor is no more true to classic Arminian belief than my hypothetical Baptist preacher is to true Baptist belief.

I agree it may be difficult to work with Pentecostals for a variety of reasons, but not because they are Arminian.

Blessings,
Todd

David Rogers

The capital letters in the last comment are not meant to be taken as shouting. I just don't know how to include italics in TypeKey comments.

peter

Dear:

Brother Lee, To argue that holding deep convictions about how to do Church is perceived as being "More Biblically correct", I could not be more pleased.

And, I am willing to both bestow upon and argue for my Pentecostal brother or sister the very same freedom to embrace.

Nonetheless, I have not--and certainly Dr. Yarnell has not--remotely suggested anything here or elsewhere that could be contrued as "inerrant". That is patently absurb.

Brother Todd,

Thank you for your irenic post. I trust Dr. Yarnell, if he manages to gain a moment of time, would be delighted to respond. Grace...

Brother r. grannemann,

If I may, you possess a fundamental confusion not recognizing a clear distinction between the Church and the Kingdom of God. Imagine, given your textual reference, when Jesus came preaching, He uttered "Repent, for the Church is at hand"!

Even more, my brother, it is precisely the Church of Christ (campbellites), which, in its ecclesiology, fails to make such a crucial distinction in the NT. Thus, your implicating Dr. Yarnell in making the distinction, falls right into the lap of campbellite theology.

Chris,

Thanks for the note on the BF&M history. I fear we've become far too loose in our understanding of Church doctrine.

Some continue to accuse theologians like Dr. Yarnell for improperly tightening the screws down too tightly, thus stripping the threads.

They fail to see, that what Dr. Yarnell is doing is not tightening screws tighter still; rather he is tightening a loose hinge before the blasted door falls off!

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

David Rogers

Peter,

Maybe I am wrong here, but I always thought that one of the purposes of blogs, and their corresponding comment threads, was to engage in reciprocal dialogue. It is true that I changed my line of dialogue to Dr. Yarnell after reading his comment to me in the comment thread. But that is because he said some new things in his comment that I had not heard him say before, and which are very important issues to me.

If Dr. Yarnell chooses not to answer me, or anyone else, that is his prerogative. If you choose not to post comments, or only to post the comments that you like, that is your prerogative. It is your blog, after all. If it seems to me that I have not received an answer to my questions, I believe it is my prerogative to continue to ask for an answer. You said previously that, for you, it was a “done deal.” After voicing my original “reluctance” to agree that the questions had indeed been answered, I was prepared to let it rest. But, since you keep bringing it up, I answer you once more about it here.

Frankly, my understanding of the following…

“Thank you so kindly for your enquiry, but because of recent history with regard to Southwestern Seminary and the International Mission Board, you probably understand if I choose not to interact with your queries regarding the membership of the first church of Jerusalem, or the use of a peculiar High Calvinist to construct Baptist ecclesiology or missiology”

… is a refusal to answer the questions being asked, not an actual answer (albeit in “germ” form).

Apparently, we interpret the same words differently. I don’t know what else to say, except to leave it for others who may care to examine for themselves the actual interchange to reach their own conclusions.

For me, I still do not know Dr. Yarnell’s answer to the following questions:

1. Into which local church was the Ethiopian eunuch baptized?
2. Into which local church were the 3,000 at Pentecost baptized - having come to Jerusalem from all over the known world?

I could perhaps postulate, on the basis of his reply to Rev. Burleson, that he considers it to be the local church at Jerusalem. But, then again, he does not state such to be the case, nor give any rationale to support such a hypothesis.

I am also amused by your attempts at psychoanalyzing me, in regard to my past experience with interdenominational missions and my current views on interdenominational cooperation. An interesting factor you may not be taking into consideration, however, is that my former missionary organization, Bible Christian Union, was explicitly non-Charismatic/Pentecostal in its doctrinal guidelines. Although all of us are, no doubt, to a large extent, products of our environment and experiences, I can assure you that my personal views on these subjects are, more than anything else, a result of my own study and reflection on the teaching of Scripture.

Next, if you read my previous comments to infer a necessary incompatibility between “Baptist” work and “Kingdom” work, then you have misread me. I would hope that our “Baptist” work might always be, at the same time, “Kingdom” work. But, as Baptists, I certainly do not believe we have a monopoly on the Kingdom of God.

I, for one, am extremely committed to “preaching the Gospel and discipling the saved.” I am also committed, as a part of discipling the saved, to “teaching them to obey everything (Jesus has) commanded (us),” including the parts about Christian unity. I also believe that God’s blessings upon our evangelistic and discipling efforts will often be commensurate with our willingness to humble ourselves, and seek to join hands with our brothers and sisters in Christ, in obedience to the Great Commission.

Regarding “lobbying” at the various blogs you mention, I have done comparatively little commenting at either Rev Burleson’s blog or at SBC Outpost, especially as of late. It would be a mistake to conflate my own views with the varied and sundry views expressed there. However, if you (or anyone else) are truly interested in understanding my perspective on these issues, I have systematically laid it out on my own blog (loveeachstone.blogspot.com) over the last several years. I would love to interact with anyone on these issues who cares to think seriously about them. If the “overwhelming majority of Southern Baptists” choose not to agree with me, so be it. If someone can help me see how I am not interpreting and applying Scripture correctly, so be it also. But, at least, I am open to on-going dialogue on these questions.

Finally, in regard to Pentecostals, I can assure you I am on no soap-box defending Pentecostal doctrine. I have even openly debated a self-confessed Charismatic-Pentecostal quite extensively (as referenced here: http://loveeachstone.blogspot.com/2007/01/charismatic-continualists-and-non.html) on points of doctrine. Neither am I advocating joint church plants together with Pentecostals, as is continually being assumed here. I am merely responding to Dr. Yarnell’s amazing assertion that, as Baptists, we cannot, in good conscience, even evangelize together with Pentecostals.

I do think, though, that, once we are ready to forget about our denominational labels and openly dialogue with other brothers and sisters in Christ with an open Bible, we will be surprised many times by our false assumptions and the true degree of the differences that divide us. There will always be advocates of extreme positions of all stripes and colors. And, we must remain vigilant regarding true heresy and false teachers. But, not to the point of isolating ourselves, and a refusal to fellowship with those who are in agreement with us on the essentials of the Gospel.

peter

David (Rogers),

To imply as do you that at SBCT I "post only comments I like" is, from my standpoint, absurd. My record stands for itself, David. In over two years, to my knowledge, the only time I've ever placed on moderation my threads was on this post, and that for a mere few hours!

Yes, sireee. We surely have a track record here for shutting people down. I simply do not know how I am going to face the world of blogging again:^)...

You began with two questions "to make you understand better" what Dr. Yarnell said, but have repeated the "perogative" to ask not only yours over again, but insisting Dr. Yarnell asnwer Mr. Burleson's as well.

So, as for asking questions, ask them. But know I absolutely will allow no one to bagger a guest author, David. Period. I offer no apologies for such and I offer no more explanations about that.

Finally, I offer once again, the words you yourself wrote:

"I will concede that trying to plant churches with true Pentecostals...would be a challenge, though not perhaps impossible. There would need to be some agreement ahead of time regarding backing off of certain doctrines. And, I am NOT suggesting that we as Baptists back off of our doctrine...All Pentecostals don't always insist on telling people they may have lost their salvation and need to get saved again, or that they must speak in tongues in order to be saved..."

Not advocating? Not open to such? Not in support of such?

I'll simply allow your words to stand as they are.

With that, I am...

Peter

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